Wyoming State Forester Bill Crapser testified last week before the House Natural Resources Committee regarding “The Impact of Catastrophic Forest Fires and Litigation on People and Endangered Species." Mr. Crapser spoke on behalf of the National Association of State Foresters (NASF) and the Council of Western State Foresters. During his testimony, he called for improved collaboration and active forest management to decrease the threats and impacts associated with wildland fire.
He also stated that the lack of forest management in the U.S. has left life and property vulnerable to catastrophic wildfire. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, already this year over 33,000 wildland fires have burned 3.7 million acres nationwide and that number is growing daily as the West is experiencing unprecedented heat and drought. The risks to communities as well as the complexities and costs of managing wildland fires also continue to increase with heavier fuel loads in forests and more people living in fire-prone landscapes. These unhealthy landscapes present a threat of wildland fire that can easily overwhelm fire management efforts and result in billions of dollars in suppression costs each year.